Tensions Escalate as MPs Call for Military Intervention to Safeguard Solemn Commemorations
In an unprecedented call for military intervention on London streets, a Conservative MP has advocated for armed forces to ensure peace during a planned “million-strong” Palestine Solidarity Campaign march scheduled to clash with Remembrance Day. The demonstration, organised in retaliation to Israel’s actions against Hamas, has sparked intense controversy, particularly as it coincides with the UK’s solemn Remembrance Day commemorations.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has ignited a contentious debate by announcing its intention to mobilise a historic march, with coaches ferrying protestors from northern towns like Dewsbury, Batley, and Leicester. The aim is clear: to assemble the largest march in history. However, the date chosen, November 11, directly conflicts with Remembrance Day, with the annual Cenotaph memorial for Remembrance Sunday following closely behind.
Despite assurances from Sir Mark Rowley, head of the Metropolitan Police, that protestors will be kept away from official events, doubts persist regarding the maintenance of peace during such a massive protest. This concern is further exacerbated by weekly Palestine protests since October 7, marked by instances of disrespect towards national monuments and the Jewish community.
In light of the potential clash and past disturbances, Henry Smith, the Conservative MP for Crawley, has expressed a profound lack of confidence in Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Metropolitan Police’s capability to manage the situation. Smith’s solution? Military deployment. His stern stance reflects a broader apprehension about the Met’s ability to police what have been, by his account, “appalling scenes”.
Echoing Smith’s concerns, Susan Hall, the Conservative candidate for Mayor of London, highlighted the disruption posed by the planned protest to Remembrance Sunday commemorations. Emphasising the anxiety and disturbance caused by previous protests, Hall pledged unwavering support for the police should she become Mayor.
Amidst this turmoil, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign has been rallying its followers, indicating dozens of congregating locations for this weekend’s protest, including eight in London. Trafalgar Square, a stone’s throw away from the Cenotaph, emerges as the principal meetup point, raising questions about the potential for conflict on Remembrance Sunday.
Controversy has also surrounded the Metropolitan Police’s response to recent protests, including defending protestors who resorted to climbing scaffolding, igniting flares, and chanting Jihad. The force’s attempt to clarify the multiple meanings of Jihad on social media did little to quell public outrage. Additionally, the force faced criticism for removing posters of Israeli hostages in North London, an act condemned by Adam Ma’anit, whose cousin is among the missing.
As tensions simmer, the question remains: Will the government heed MP Henry Smith’s call for military intervention, or will the Met rise to the challenge of balancing the right to protest with the sanctity of Remembrance Day? Only time will tell as London braces for a protest that could mark a pivotal moment in the city’s history. Story Source